Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More on Sexual Offenders

We have had a few class discussions already regarding sexual offense cases: Doe v. XYC Corp. and K.M. v. PUBLIX Super markets. As soon as we were discussing it, I thought about an email I got about a year or two ago that gave me a link to the Family Watchdog website. Once you hit the link, you put in your address (throughout the U.S.) to see the different offenders in your area, which range from offense against children to sexual battery. There picture, age, address, offense, etc. is listed.

I found it really interesting...just a bit scary...but worth it.

Here is the link below:

Let me know what you think.


Blogger Lilly said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Lilly said...

Regarding sexual offender websites, I actually think that they are quite useful. When I searched the area at my parent's house, I was shocked to find out just how many sex offenders live around our neighborhood.

The important thing to realize is that these offenders can range from minor to major offenders - from the man (or woman, I suppose) who creepily watches children at the playground, to the step dad who molests his girlfriend's child.

While in some senses it may seem like a violation of privacy, I think that as soon as you commit the crime, you lose a good sense of that privacy. If you're worried about being on a public list, then don't become a sex offender. What rights do we really want to give to these individuals?

I also think that it's really important for parents to be aware of who lives around them. Take, for example, the case of Danielle van Dam, whose neighbor (David Westerfield) kidnapped and brutally murdered her. Could this situation have been prevented had her parents known that Westerfield had a prior sex offender record*?

Although I fully agree that this database is a violation of privacy, I think it is one that is warranted based on the perpetrator's behavior.

*I've searched to find out whether Westerfield did, indeed, have a record of sexual assault, but I can't find anything. However, for the sake of argument, I'm going to say he did.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Brad said...

I completely agree with Lilly. This watchdog website is very useful and I am going to be sure to share it with friends and family.

To be honest, I don't think this is a violation of privacy because registered sex offenders should be public knowledge. As Lilly clearly mentioned, if you don't want to be on it, don't commit a crime!

Are there any other legal violations that should be so publicly advertised?

7:22 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

I agree with Lilly and Brad. Once someone becomes a sexual offender, that information needs to become public information out of safety for the community.

Websites like this are extremely valuable resources for parents, and all the more reason why I think the liability in K.M. v. Publix Super Markets should fall more on the mother and less on Publix Super Markets. Had a database like this been available to the mother, the entire scenario could have been avoided.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Professor Prenkert said...

I don't want to stray too far from the post, but do Lilly, Brad, and Jamie feel as strongly that sex offenders' information (including addresses of home and work) should be publicly available on a registry if a person's offense was, for instance, for statutory rape when the person was himself or herself a teenager?

Think, for example, of Genarlow Wilson, had his conviction not been overturned by the Georgia Supreme Court, or of Jamie Lynn Spears's boyfriend if he were in some states. Have such persons similarly given up their rights to privacy? They've "committed the crime," as Brad notes.

5:19 PM  

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